Kevin Reilly, the president of entertainment at Fox, recently fielded a conference call from journalists asking about the decisions that led to the controversial renewal of Dollhouse and the cancellation of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
“First, it’s a bet on [creativity], and that’s something that has never changed,” Reilly said about Dollhouse, relayed through Sci-Fi Wire. “And I’m happy to say we’re doing that. You know how inspired Joss Whedon is. It’s a bet on Joss. The DVR numbers are a marker for us, so it is a factor, and we did see an uptick in the ratings from a 1.5 to a 2. That was a pattern for us that we liked, betting on Joss, and I think you’re going to see it grow next season.” Of course, many fans will be wondering why the same attitude didn’t prevail with the cancellation of Firefly several years ago, another Joss Whedon show that was flirting with cancellation throughout its brief run. Then again, whereas Dollhouse was given a second chance, Firefly never really received a first, but the network appears to have taken those lessons in tow for this time at least. Or perhaps, they weren’t keen on the idea of having their offices swarmed with dolls from angry fans of the show.
As for Terminator, Reilly gives a different account of events: “We make no apologies for [Terminator]. We had a huge launch for that show, as you remember. We gave it a lot of support and some consistent scheduling. We tried, and felt it was time to move on.” It seems that audience figures just weren’t on John Connor’s side this time, as the ratings downturn had a lot to do with the eventual decision, alongside the fact that it “wasn’t an inexpensive show” to produce. “Ultimately, we looked at the ratings track on Monday, where it had a pretty consistent run, and then on Friday, where it moved to. And that trend line was not pointing in the right direction.”
Reilly was keen to point out however that it wasn’t a case of deciding between the two shows, and that both were judged on their individual merits rather than compared and contrasted to each other.